Local Rhythms – Still a small town

MariaMuldaur25web-25This week’s column begins a bit off-topic, but stick with me.  It gets back to music eventually.

Though I try to steer clear of politics in this space, a meme circulating after last week’s resounding win by pro-growth forces in local elections forces me to weigh in.  The results, say the losers, prove that Claremont isn’t a small town any more.  If we talked more and knew each other better, they say, things would have turned out differently,

The opposite is true. This was Claremont’s first Facebook election, and it proves we’re more connected than ever.

The pro-growth S.O.S. group used Facebook very effectively to support their positions and debunk their opposition – practically in real time.  I don’t diminish the power of a letter to the editor – heck, I write for a newspaper.  But the immediacy of information during this election cycle, coupled with an ongoing comment dialogue, was a very energizing force.

Back in the 1990s, these conversations happened slowly and selectively, at church coffee hours or during civic gatherings.  The very nature of the meetings limited participation.

Today, it’s possible to be out of the room but still in the loop.  I learned much more about this election from written exchanges than face-to-face conversations.

Here’s the important part – it brought me closer to the action.

Ubiquitous technology is a powerful and democratizing force.  The pro-growth forces understood this, and used it to carry the day.  Their constant campaign networking went beyond anything I’ve seen in the 30 or so years I’ve been in Claremont.

Without Facebook, Nick Koloski wouldn’t have stood a chance.

The new council member used it to announce and promote his candidacy.  Before the election, I was reasonably acquainted with Nick, but it was only after we connected online that I really got to know him.

One negative in all of this is the potential for too much information.  But while choosing a side in the health care debate is like drinking the ocean, picking a mayor is more akin to floating down a river.

I’ve taken this approach with music for a long time, turning a network of possibilities into a power grid of connections that cumulatively provides me with all I need, but never stops growing and giving me more.

The net effect (no pun intended) is that there has never been a better time to be a music fan than right now – except for perhaps tomorrow.

On to the rest of the week:

Thursday, Nov. 12: Loose Cannons Acoustic, Silver Fern Grille & Bar – These guys rock pretty hard for an all acoustic band, covering guys like Clapton and the Beatles, as well as grooves from Bob Marley and Stray Cats rockabilly.  Eclectic is the word that best describes them, with a musical outlook spanning decades and styles.  Silver Fern has a great beer selection, with several draft choices and a few big Vermont craft varieties.

Friday, Nov. 13 Acoustic Truffle, Salt hill Newport – Their name comes from the Beatles song, “Savoy Truffle,” and they’ve been wowing Seacoast audiences since the mid-80’s with their blues-infused, up-tempo rock. Truffle has two incarnations; the acoustic version leaves out the drums, but keeps the energy level high on stripped-down versions of songs like “Developer’s Blues,” a tune the Dead could have called their own.

Saturday, Nov. 14: Maria Muldaur, Bellows Falls Opera House – She’s best known for her early 70s hit “Midnight at the Oasis,” but Maria Muldaur has traveled the world of music, from her early Greenwich Village folk days, when Dylan was still playing pass the hat shows, to her current combo. the good time Garden of Joy Jug Band which features a banjo, a real washtub and, of course, Muldaur’s singularly soulful voice

Sunday, Nov. 15: Celia Sings Sinatra, Canoe Club – This downtown Hanover restaurant has great food, an inventive beer list and interesting drinks.  But none of that matters to me as much as Canoe Cub’s commitment to live music, 363 days a year.  Nights like this one with Celia are particularly special – he’s a dead ringer for the Chairman of the Board, and a lot of fun to boot.

Tuesday, Nov. 17: Adam McMahon, Windsor Station – Good blues from a nice guy who’s also an Iraq veteran, while enjoying tasty bar food, a party vibe on Tuesday night and the occasional drone of a train lumbering by.  How many more reasons do you need to head to the Station to see Adam McMahon play?

Wednesday, Nov. 18: Mark & Deb Bond, Ramunto’s – Now in residency at my favorite place to get a pint and a slice (or calzone) is this musical dynamic duo, who pack a big sound into the little corner fronting Puksta Bridge.  They’re best with dreamy pop rock like Peter Gabriel or the Beatles; their pirate karaoke version of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” is audaciously good too.